On The Hook: Gizmo fishing

Bill Walsh

Years of experience on the water has taught me that some folks that fish, especially the ones that agonize over having great difficulty in “the catching”, have an inordinate flair to invent radical means and methods to improve their lot.

In deviation of the standard effort for gaining an edge on those piscatorial escapees such as studying and practicing the art, they devise methods or gadgets to beat the odds the easy way.  And they are assertive and proud to display their “inventions” to friends and especially other anglers. Think they kind of see their ideas as inventions that can beat the system.

Most are rather bizarre and interesting in concept but play out as hilarious as they are put to the test. We’ll share a few of those at the top of the list that held out both of those attributes.

Vinyl gloves

During the winter months here, it is common for three or four displaced northern anglers, usually residents at the same beach condo, to get together and form a group and book one or two charter trips per month. Most of those groups are comprised of serious experienced anglers out for a good time and some solid results. It’s kind of like “poker night” on the water.

Our subject group this particular day are four guys from North Jersey that fish the northern “shore” spots and love the NFL Giants. Three of the them are excellent fishermen with all the skill and experience to both enjoy the four hours on the water and, most often, take home a couple of dinners. The fourth, that we’ll affectionally label, Harvey, is the exception.

Problem is he can’t draw a fish strike or, probably gets strikes and doesn’t feel them. And after half a winter season of that Harvey was beside himself and finally told the guys he was taking a special on-line training course to see if things could improve. They all encouraged him to continue.

It’s a cold February morning and we’re all aboard and heading down the Marco River and Harvey opens his bag and an ample supply of latex gloves spill onto the deck.

The other guys look quizzically at one another and one pipes up with “Hey Harv, what are gloves for … you performing on-the-water surgery today.”

Harvey shot back, “Learned from my on-line class that you never touch bait with your hands. These are special gloves coated with anise powder that totally eliminates human scent.”

With a puff of licorice odor from the powder, he slid the gloves on, the companions were absolutely speechless.

Sure enough Harvey would only select bait shrimp from the cooler himself and struggle with the slippery gloves to get them on the hook. He had the bait on all crooked and as I reached over to reposition it.” Captain, hold it. If you want to touch my bait, put on a pair of gloves.”

Harvey put his own bait on from then on. As the day wore on, Harvey went through five or six pairs of his anise specials. Those removed gloves looked like pieces of Swiss cheese with rips and perforations from shrimp horns, errant hooks and fish spikes.

Harvey had repeated history. He, again, was the one without take home. Human handled bait wasn’t the answer. One of the guys asked Harvey was the next training session was all about … “It’s all about not using any weights on your rig.”

Lots of eye rolls and comment “can hardly wait to see that one, Harvey.”



Wrist fish finder

This trip went down post-Christmas on an ice cold January morning. Again, our crew is a group of condo commandos, all competent anglers from the Midwest.

George, the lightening rod of the group, was showing off his Christmas present, a wrist watch fish finder. The face of the watch looked like a very small fish finder screen and the signals it received came from a small floating transducer. The deal was you cast this floating transducer out on a floating cord about 25’ from the boat and the transducer would send a signal back to the wrist watch and give you a screen of assembled fish awaiting your baited hook.

We were fishing a spot along the west end of Hideaway Beach and anchored some 50 feet from our “honey hole.” The other members of the foursome were doing well on nice size whiting and silver trout. George, being true to his new gift was limited to that twenty-five foot tether line and after an hour of trying was “zero for zero” … couldn’t find any fish on his watch or catch anything. Frustration was building as his three “buddies” were giving him the needle. “Great gift, George … can you exchange it for something that really works?

“That does it, Captain, lend me one of your rods. I’m going to tie this transducer on the fishing line and get it over there to the fishing hole that everyone else is enjoying.”

“George, be glad to but just a couple of cautions. First the transducer may not be able to couple up with the watch out fifty feet and, besides, the transducer weighs at least a couple ounces and you’ll be tied onto 12-pound test line.”

“Don’t worry, captain, I’ll be careful.”

The cast was a thing of beauty. The trajectory was high and far out and that was the last any of us saw the transducer, as it snapped off the line as it cleared a high fence and a row of shrubbery that was obviously shielding the swimming pool.

One of the guys hollered “Homerun … that baby would have cleared Fenway’s Green Monster.”

That was the last we saw of the transducer and there were some voiced concern if anyone could have been using the pool.” Not a chance with this frigid morning” and all agreed.

There was good humor and needling George on the way home … ” George, call the company and see if they’ll give you half back for half the rig.”

At the end of the day, ain’t fishing fun!

Capt. Bill Walsh owns a charter fishing business and holds a U.S. Coast Guard license. Send comments to dawnpatrolmarco@cs.com.